1. Why Marcos Hated Voltes V

    One of the oddest moments of Martial Law, though completely indicative of Marcos’ totalitarian, paranoid, and wayward thinking, was when he banned the final five episodes of the anime Voltes V. Courtesy, of @copyeditor:

    In the interview, Senator Marcos said he understood that a cartoon like Voltes V would have been something important to kids “but it was actually the parents that worried about the violence that they were afraid might influence their children in a negative way.”

    “There was a lot of private lobbying by all kinds of groups, parents-groups, and so I guess my father saw it prudent to acquiesce to their demands on an issue that was and still is not well understood,” he said.

    Marcos said that up to this day, the effect of violence “as experienced vicariously by children through TV or video games is still a subject that remains contentious not only here but in other countries as well.”

    Bongbong - Why Marcos Banned Voltes V

    The truth is a little quirkier than that. The finale of Voltes V saw the heroes rising up and overthrowing an oppressive government. Hmmmmm…a little too close for comfort there methinks?

    Of course, this got me thinking. For kids today who erroneously think that Martial Law was all sunshine and flowers, just imagine Marcos breaking out the ban-stick on your favorite tv shows and movies. All for ‘questionable content’:

    • The Star Wars Trilogy - This is almost self-explanatory. Young kid harnessing his inner self, joining the underground to overthrow a doddering old fool of an Emperor, who is ultimately betrayed by his right hand man? Yeah. (Though lets be honest, I wouldn’t have minded if he banned the new trilogy.)
    • Braveheart -  A passionate and well-spoken charismatic leader sacrifices himself for the good of everyone and ultimately incites a people to rebellion? A dictator’s worse nightmare
    • The Lord of the Rings - Placid and unassuming little people, find heroism within themselves and topple a dark power, even in the face of superior might and forces.
    • Transformers - Marcos hated robots. Nuff said.
    • Fuck da Police - N.W.A - Crazy subversive new fangled hip-hop music demanding impressionable youth fight the Man? Not something you’d hear in the hallowed halls of Malacanang that’s for sure.
    • I Kissed a Girl by Katy Perry - A song celebrating ‘non-traditional’ family values? I can just imagine Marcos completely aghast, all the while secretly singing along. Though, you can just imagine Imelda singing “I kissed Qaddafi and I liked it”
    • Avatar - Impoverished natives armed with primitive weapons rise up against almost overwhelming military might and win. I’m sure Enrile and Ramos would have been first in line to get this banned.
    • Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises - Vigilantism? Really? Do we even need to explain this?

    And the list goes on and on.

    But wait, the fun doesn’t stop there! You can just imagine what Marcos would have thought of video games. The unapologetic viciousness of Super Mario Brother, beating up on poor Bowser. The sheer violence of Call of Duty, the anarchy of GTA or Red Dead Redemption, would have probably sent him into fits.

    That’s the face of Martial Law. Where choices are made for you and entertainment is state-sanctioned. Can’t have anything too subversive and revolutionary, might give people the wrong ideas.

    Now excuse me, I’m going to go blow up some dragons in Skyrim and fuck the police in GTA.

    Just because I can.


  2. Contemplating Martial Law.

    Martial Law in History

    Context is key in understanding any historical event. The whys and the hows, those questions that provide a firm grasp of the times, are paramount. We know that forty years ago, on September 23, 1972, Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law through Proclamation No. 1081. We know that what followed was fourteen years of systematic dismantling of Philippine culture, society, and economy. It was an unrelenting barrage of cronyism, self-interest, and overwhelming ego that brought the Philippines to its knees. The quantity and quality of what was done to the Philippines and the Filipino is almost difficult to grasp in its enormity. In a sense, the argument could be made this is why so many of our young fail to comprehend Martial Law: There is just too much to explain, so much for them to understand. And unless it’s presented properly and competently, the excesses of Martial Law almost becomes satirical, a bad joke that is being played on the unsuspecting. Three thousand pairs of shoes? Tens of millions of dollars worth of jewelry? Mansions in Europe, secret Swiss bank accounts, decadent parties in the United States, mistresses in Australia, multi-million dollar condominium units in New York and London, and so on and so on. Ha! That sounds more like an over-the-top book or film than reality. Even a royal decree from Marcos naming Imelda as his heir and successor smacks of overkill. Yet, it is all there. It happened.

    Then there are the dark notes of Martial Law. The salvagings, the kidnappings, the state-sanctioned executions, tortures, and intimidation. The fear that an unsuspecting country soon found itself living in. The sheer impunity of it all. Curfews and beheadings. Beatings and thieving. That was part of Martial Law. Thousands of men and women found themselves jailed, tortured, and murdered. Left by the street side were dead bodies masquerading as unremarked refuse. Those bloody reminders of Martial Law are almost completely forgotten today. There are too many deluded among the youth and old guard alike who celebrate the excesses of Martial Law, they like to point to the dream of a strong man who controlled their lives and harnessed a nation to service his, his wife’s, and their cronies’ perverse desires. I have little doubt that Jose Rizal would find absolutely appalling the continued existence of the Cult of Marcos. This subrosa, barely remarked upon fervent dream for a strong man to come and unburden us of our social and civic responsibility. To lead and guide to the promised land. What else underlies that frequently stated request for a ‘strong leader’ to fix the country, but a lack of personal conviction and desire to assume social and civic responsibility? Rizal called people who believe like that slaves. Ideological slaves with little heart for proudly proclaiming themselves Filipino and contributing to the success of their country. Rizal pointed out that slaves allow tyrants to maintain power, and little men become even smaller men when they find power. Slaves become tyrants: Petty and self-interested. Deluded in their grandeur of squalor.

    Even the so-called bright spots of Martial Law that we like to hail in the public discourse are tainted once we dig deeper. For example, Imelda Marcos’ contributions to arts and culture communities fall apart when critically analyzed. Yes, she left an institutional legacy that remains. But, the potency of those institutions has less to do with her and more to do with the men and women who re-imagined their potential. Imelda basically engineered cultural and art institutions into altars for the Cult of Imelda. Her tastes, her demands, her desires, and quirks dominated the cultural landscape. Art, in its essence, is the mirror through which society views itself. Art provides a voice for the people, and often times it is the only outlet for social unrest. That is why there is such a long history of literature, sculpture, cinema, and paintings as vehicles for social subversion and even revolution. Rizal’s Noli and Fili and Paine’s Common Sense helped spark revolutions. Works of art like Picasso’s Guernica are pointed social critique that resonate today. Art, at its best, helps weave national narratives and demands a reassessment of prevailing social standards. Art, in any form, is critical analysis of a subject, a belief, a place, or a time. By muzzling the art community, Imelda eliminated one of the key vehicles through which social commentary can be made. Her husband’s desire to rewrite Philippine history to support and defend his one-man rule is one and the same. Controlling the understanding of history provides the ability to rewrite the context of the present, and even guide the future.

    Heinriche Heine famously pointed out "That was but a prelude; where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people." In a sense, a critical evaluation of art and culture institutions during Martial Law gives us a pointed insight into the mind of Imelda Marcos: She was paramount. She came, she saw, she controlled. It was art by fiat, and Imelda was the grand patroness.

    In general we at least grasp the almost overwhelming economic failures of Martial Law; failures driven by cronyism, nepotism, and institutionalized and state-sanctioned graft and corruption. But, in looking at its entirety, it is awe-inspiring. Crony capitalism became the norm. Infrastructure projects were handed out like candy as favors. Projects were developed and implemented for the sole purpose of providing vehicles for corruption. Yes, roads were built, institutions developed, but at what cost? How many languished in poverty while roads were paved to nowhere? While medical institutions that catered to a select few were constructed with public dollars? Yes, we may have a kidney or heart center now. But back then? What was more important, a basic primary healthcare facility serving the hundreds of thousands who did not have access to basic medical care, or a medical facility catering to wealthy Filipinos and foreigners? That is one of the tragedies of Martial Law: The misguided sense of nationalism. It was nationalism turned egoism; a country and its institutions geared specifically to the demands of a Conjugal Dictatorship and their coterie of bandits and sycophants. The result, by 1986, was a crippling external debt amounting to the billions of dollars, where twenty years prior it was only in the millions. Poverty was rampant and new policies of state-sanctioned export of labor were in place.

    Context is key. Martial Law came into being because of the context of the period. It survived for fourteen long years because of the context of the time. Fears were preyed upon, information twisted and manipulated to fit pre-determined narratives. That is why the press had to be muzzled, that is why artistic freedom had to disappear, that is even why history had to be rewritten. Without public intellectuals railing visibly against a rapacious dictatorship, without voices offering dissenting views to combat institutional propaganda, the status quo (no matter how oppressive) remains. Martial Law endured.

    Despite its continued pervasive and subversive influence, Martial Law is barely understood. It has become more akin to bedtime story used to scare children: If you misbehave, watch out, Martial Law is going to get us! Impeachment? Martial Law! *insert undesired policy*? Martial Law! In its almost consistent deployment, martial law has become less a socio-political state antithetical to democracy and more a running joke. Less something to fear and more a child’s monster under the bed: Something that only exists in our heads. Without a critical understanding of the underlying reasons for Martial Law, we will remain wholly reactive to political changes and developments; consistently weaving fantastical theories of creeping dictatorships and stealthy martial law declarations, all the while the benefactors of Martial Law prosper in their little fiefdoms and maintain their power base. That much needed understanding is only found in the study of history.

    Improperly used, history can be deployed to defend almost any excess. Marcos proved this to be true. Proper histories, those that are well-researched and evidentiary based, provide lessons in understanding. More importantly, history gives the present an opportunity to reflect on themselves. Art and history offer the opportunity to question prevailing beliefs and systems; they demand we question commonly held narratives and the actions of our leaders past and present. They give us the chance for critical analysis. John Carey put it this way: “One of history’s most useful tasks is to bring home to us how keenly, honestly and painfully, past generations pursued aims that now seem to us wrong or disgraceful.” Our public historical amnesia robs of that opportunity. Look no further than our popular understanding of Martial Law.

    Maybe subconsciously we are scared to fully face Martial Law; to come to grips with what happened, and why it happened. Our present is reflected in our past. Maybe we shove Martial Law to the back of our collective unconscious because we do not want to remember. Maybe it will show us things about ourselves we do not want to face. But, it is there and someday it must be reckoned with.

    Painting: Guernica by Pablo Picasso


  3. Intellectual Dishonesty


    “If the martial law veterans want the next generation to remember, they should produce more history books, short stories, novels and documentaries on that dark period. The kids’ brains today are wired differently. The oldies did propaganda work in black-and-white via Gestetner stencils and mimeographing machines. The kids today need videos, with music and vivid color, posted instantaneously on the web. The oldies thought in terms of competing dogma. The kids start with reality, raw and undigested - they prefer to do the digesting themselves.”

    Raul C. Pangalangan, Forgetting Martial Law, The Philippine Daily Inquirer

    I do agree with the good Dean. We certainly need narratives from that period as things are now fast slipping from memory. Sad though that it is those favored in those dark days who are now adapting to current technology (e.g. Youtube videos, websites, etc), than those who suffered much.

    A few years ago I had a discussion with a prominent writer who now resides abroad about this very subject. He had an excellent point. Simply that the fault for our Martial Law amnesia is in large part because many of the academe and intelligensia, who are still in positions of influence, collaborated vigorously with Marcos. They helped write his manufactured ‘histories’, they wrote his speeches, they helped lay the intellectual foundation for his so called New Society.

    Now, at the fall of Martial Law these people remained in position and, he argued, purposefully tried to ignore the ML period because of their role. For every Anding Roces or Chino Roces, or Teddy Locsin Sr you had a collaborator. For every F Sionil Jose or Nick Joaquin or Pete Lacaba you had an academic ghostwriting his speeches, or questionable histories.

    So, it filters down. These so-called nationalisms in the academe and intelligensia not only agreed with Marcos, they collaborated with him to build that great and wonderful New Society. They now teach our students, the youth of the nation, and they learned nothing from their dalliance with the dark side. If anything, men of that ilk still maintain that we need a strong leader. They sit in their ivory towers, railing against a culture and society they loathe and detest; they look down on the Filipino and his history. Thus, the ‘defenders’ of Pinoy culture and the preservers of our historical memory, inevitably eviscerate our collective memory in favor of their preferred narrative.

    Nationalists? Please.

  4. From @pcij (Philippine Centre for Investigative Journalism):  A documentary, "Lest We Forget", detailing the stories of five human rights victims of Martial Law.

    For all you confused kids out there please note the very first line: "It shows the dark side of Philippine history, I don’t think you can…you can compare the massacres, summary executions, tortures, and killings that took place under Martial Law to any administration."

    There you go.

  5. A soldier reads a copy of Malaya during the 1986 People Power Revolution. (Photo by Joe Galvez)

    Later in the afternoon of Feb. 22, Joe received a call (he said it was from Louie Beltran of the Philippine Daily Inquirer), who asked if he had heard about a report that the forces of Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Fabian Ver had orders to arrest dozens of opposition leaders, as well as journalists in the Mosquito or Alternative Press, and haul them off to some detention facility on an island. The two friends counseled each other to take precautions and stay in touch.

    -Lourdes Molina-Fernandez

    ‘EDSA is not just four days in February’: A first-person account

    Context is always forgotten when it comes to our yearly EDSA celebrations. It has been reduced to an old irrelevant man who at the time was desperate to be saved by the people reenacting his ‘jump’ and the assassination of Ninoy Aquino (which happened in 1983).

    Where are the stories of the people dragged into the streets, some never to be seen again?

    Where are the stories of the journalists jailed, harassed, and even murdered for trying to speak the truth?

    Where are the stories of bravery in the face of intimidation, defiance in the face of totalitarianism?

    Where are the stories of the Filipino?

    (via ellobofilipino)


  6. I have always looked at the anniversary of People Power with mixed feelings. On the one hand, we removed a dictator from power. On the other, many Filipinos don’t even understand that we used to be under the thumb of a dictator; much less what that entailed. There is this disturbing concerted effort to remake Marcos and whitewash his, and his supporters, excesses, human rights violations, and gross totalitarianism.

    More disappointingly, we still see espoused misguided and antiquated political theory on the part of our so-called intellectuals that essentially support dictators and dictatorships.

    It is not only that we (as a people) do not learn from our mistakes. It’s that our ‘leaders’ refuse to change, refuse to learn from their own errors. They continue to plod the same course, espouse the same hackneyed beliefs, and basically carry themselves with a disturbing sense of self-satisfaction and superiority.

    In essence, our national forgetfulness when it comes to Martial Law allows them to maintain their positions of power with impunity.


  7. "

    He {Enrile} said that then dictator Ferdinand Marcos ordered to buy all the dollars available in the market and to send these to an account in a bank in Hong Kong…Enrile, the defense minister during martial law, said that the account in Hong Kong had yet to be liquidated. “I just don’t know who is supposed to do that. The President put Bobby Ongpin in charge then together with General Ver,” he said…

    Enrile said he learned that it was only Ongpin, ‘who knew of the bank account in Hong Kong.”


    Open records of Marcos’ spy agency, Enrile urges - Philippine Daily Inquirer.

    1. Any question why the FOIA is important?

    2. And people still hold to the fantasy that Marcos was great for the country.

    3. I’ve always heard rumors that Ongpin was benefited from certain accounts set up overseas.

    4. This is important. Opening up some of the military’s documents was a nice first step, let’s make sure that it isn’t the only step. Putting Martial Law to rest requires transparency and access to existing documents by civil society


  8. Hey people out there, you know what was part and parcel with all those Libya and Qaddafi ‘facts’ that are being reblogged?

    State supported mass murder.

    Abrogation (or outright suspension) of civil liberties.

    State sanctioned atrocities.

    Impunity for breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper, and mid-afternoon snacks.

    Get that shit out of here. Stop trying to be so fucking hipster that you end up trying to defend a mass murdering psychotic dictator who bled his country and people dry.

    Note: This is not an endorsement of how Kaddafi was summarily executed. I, in no way, support mob rule. Just as I don’t support or defend authoritarian governments that abuse and exploit their people for the benefit of a dictator and his cronies. Both are situations we (as a race) should be evolving away from.

    By the way, for you Filipino blogs out there that are reblogging that crap and have been all “Ooo Martial Law was baaaad” in the past. WTF? Seriously. WTF?


  9. Useless: A Story about Philippine “Intellectuals”

    It is generally accepted that the Martial Law period politicized and corrupted the military. As well, there was a subversion of civil society leadership at the top of the socioeconomic foodchain. The art of capital cronyism, the repayment of support and favors through preferential treatment in public-private accommodations, undermined Philippine business. It concentrated assets, via government mechanisms of transfer and intimidation, in the hands of a few; a carefully selected and groomed cadre of men and women. Loyalists, who still maintain their patronage ties to the past. We still find visible and passionate defenses of that failed regime and its perverse ideas today. Defenses and gross misstatements that go unchallenged in the public sphere.

    As well the fourth estate, the social mechanism that is supposed to act as both the people’s voice and a check and balance to excess and abuse, was subverted. One of the first orders that went out was to round up journalists who were critical of the Marcos regime. And then jail them. Newspapers were shut down, writers intimidated and jailed. Editors went into hiding; along with some well-regarded and high-profile columnists. The intelligensia was under attack. And in muzzling their ability to speak, to criticize and explicate, to disclose and detail the indiscretions of the prevailing power bloc, one of the safeguards of the people was eliminated. When media and the ability of a country’s intellectuals to speak is controlled, the flow of information, the engagement of ideas, the forms of education are controlled as well. The best, the most effective way to rule with an iron fist, is to manage what people learn; what they discover and understand about themselves. It is part of the reason why an independent art and culture community, a vibrant one at that, is so important. Without it, sans those divergent and clashing views that exist in a dynamic society, a people stagnate. That is what happened during Martial Law. Eventually though, a people find new footing; it rediscovers its soul and voice. Broad response and reprisal follow soon after.

    That is one of the enduring lessons from that period, and any like it in world history. Effective and stable governance is not found through fear and intimidation, it is not found in the continuing miseducation of a people. In the short term, keeping a population compliant through intimidation and ignorance may work. In the short term. But over time, eventually, human spirit rebels. As Edward Said has aptly demonstrated, sometimes the soul of a people is defined in opposition to repression. Art and literature show the way. That is the reason why so much great literature, so much important art, is produced during times that try men’s souls. But the cultural and social process that births voices like Tagore or Rizal takes time. It is not instantaneous by any means. That though is in the case of colonialism from without. What of colonialism from within? What then when a people are trod under by their own?

    The same holds true. However, I truly suspect the process is accelerated in cases of internally imposed totalitarianism. At least initially. Once those early voices are silenced, and the mechanisms for public criticism sealed off, I suspect it takes time for new voices to find their bearing. Control in an authoritarian or imperial environment then does not just derive from political and economic means, it is reinforced through oversight of the intelligensia. That is the untold story of Martial Law: The subversion of the academe and the collaboration of public writers with the Marcos regime. 

    There were historians, columnists, social and cultural commentators, filmmakers, and artists who became part of the ruling elite during the Marcos years. They are still active today; fancying themselves social sages and purveyors of enlightened wisdom. And, in part, this helps explain why so much of the excess and abuse remains untold, unexplained in the public sphere. We still lack a comprehensive and cohesive tale of Martial Law; the reason is the people, the writers and storytellers, who are in the best public position to create it, collaborated. For every F. Sionil Jose, Nick Joaquin or Alejandro R Roces, or Pete Lacaba (public writers and social stalwarts all), who spoke and fought against the defilement of their country, you have even more who joined forces under some sort of ‘nationalist’ claim. In supporting the very regime that denigrated their countrymen, they made a mockery of the term ‘nationalist.’ One prominent example is Rio Alma. A man who fancies himself as a modern day avenging angel of Tagalog-ccentric nationalism; yet he was a speech writer for Marcos. A man who set-up a rival writers guild to PEN, under the aegis of Marcos. He is by no means an exception. Other so-called nationalist social commentators were working hand in hand with Imelda Marcos during those years. Benefiting from that relationship. Is it any wonder that members of our art and culture community frequently shy away from pointed criticisms of Martial Law?

    It was a storyline that played out yet again during the GMA years. The NCCA and NHI were brought inline with GMA’s interests. A negative artistic word was never allowed. The culture institutions were controlled and muzzled. The sad part is some people who were anti-Marcos ended up collaborating with GMA. They committed the same sins decades previously they had spoken out against. There is a lesson to be found here in the damage that results from allowing unfettered power and weaknesses in our institutions to continue.

    The fact is, in so many ways, our intellectual and academic communities in the Philippines have let the country down. They are supposed to be detectives and storytellers. The men and women who not only unearth social ills and iniquity, but are challenged to heal those wounds; to show ways out of the morass in which the country has found itself. Without public writers and artists digging deeper and creating new perspectives a country, and its people, will never evolve. That is the situation the Philippines finds itself in today. Our public writers and historians, with a few notable exceptions, are caught in some sort of cycle of pseudo-intellectualism and perversely twisted and superficial nationalism. Their changeability and lack of intellectual integrity comes most to the fore when commenting on political situations. Very few actually write from positions buttressed by research or even organic philosophies. More than anything, so many writers and historians are bound by ties of ideology and patronage. Those ties also encompass student-teacher relationships. One of the key issues in our historical community is the sheer reverence in which older historians are held. To write an opposing view, or critically of their positions, is almost forbidden. At the very least, it is frowned upon. 

    World views that are so bound by personal relationships or ideology result in almost worryingly limited commentary on all issues. It is the same when it comes to understanding history. It results in superficial understandings of the self and nation; past, present, and future. There are current examples of this limitation. For example, the on-going PCSO expose is one. There are many who glommed onto the pronouncements of Manoling Morato with nary a critical question asked or evidence-backed substantiation requested; yet remain curiously silent concerning the Commission on Audit reports detailing the excesses and errors of previous PCSO leadership. Well, except in the case of attacking wayward bishops. Consistency and constancy are in short supply sometimes.

    Even more amusingly, there are those who spoke glowingly and in whole-hearted support for Jose Rizal and his philosophies; describing in detail how he was their hero, and how his words and deeds were inspiration. Yet, defend warlordism as not only necessary, but appreciated. Our own history belies the very idea that concentrating power in the hands of a select few (and allowing political dynasties to flourish) is worthwhile. This distressing mutability in the basic philosophies results in almost humorous inconsistencies in positions on issues. And publicly, the act of framing and contextualizing issues is quite rare. More often than not, analysis, and criticisms there in, occur almost in a vacuum. Multi-disciplinary thinking remains elusive. And that is a continuing failure of our education system.

    The burden of not only identifying, but offering avenues to repairing, extant social ills falls most heavily on the art, culture, and intellectual community. The reason is simple: They have the ability to do so. In accepting the mantle of being a public historian, writer, artist, or journalist they are dedicating themselves to a higher calling; to national service in a sense. That is the reason why arts and culture are usually among the first civil sectors that are silenced in a totalitarian regime. In driving them underground, the public mechanism for ideas and resistance is abrogated. What else is art, but subversion?

    And that is what concerns me the most, on an intellectual level. It is not just how broken the system is, or the type of people who inhabit it. It is the fact that the road to redemption for the Philippines has become muddied by the very people who should be shining a light and creating paths out of our current situation. Instead of being the backbone of a strong, informed, and dynamic intellectual community, they have become withdrawn, elitist and even intellectually incestuous in a way. Their ideas of what it means to be Filipino are stagnant and old-fashioned. Instead of discovering new perspectives on the country, the same old hackneyed ideas are repackaged in pretty, albeit superficial, forms.

    But, serving the public good does not necessarily mean always being against government. What it demands is something far more difficult than that; because let’s be honest here, the easiest path is just to always be contrarian, to always try and tear down and criticize. Instead it demands adherence to a core set of beliefs; ideas and philosophies from which all personal ideas and positions derive. That means not allowing things like private relationships to influence. It means focusing on issues of content, and not personal likes and dislikes. I remember one writer telling me that he was most proud of the fact that he angered his friends and opponents equally during his career. If everyone agrees with what you have written, then what you wrote is meaningless.

    That is the challenge for the next generation, our generation, of artists and writers. To break the shackles of repressive historical and social thought and the strictures of perverse ideology. In other words, to come up with new meanings on what it means to be Filipino. For me, that starts historically. But for others? It has to begin where passion is found and where new ideas can flourish. Else we are failing ourselves and we will continue to stagnate.

    In a sense, we are even worse off than when we were colonial subjects. At least then there was fire and passion and energy to discover and create a new and cohesive nation. Verve that today seems to be in short supply.


  10. Reality TV

    I was trying to come up with some way to sarcastically skewer the ‘performance’ of Ligot, Mrs. Ligot/Yambao (oh multiple personality disorder, you crazy thing you) and Cimatu during the Senate hearings today. But, I can’t really, or at least I can’t come up with anything funnier than excerpts from their own testimonies:

    Senator: “General Ligot…”

    *gets interrupted by an overweight bespeckled man trying desperately to look grandfatherly*

    Ligot: "I exercise my right against self-incrimination!"

    Senator: “I just wanted to ask if you wanted some water.”

    Ligot: “Water is in my case before the Sandiganbayan! I exercise my right against self-incrimination!!”

    Senator: “Ok sir, nevermind. Wait, why is your lawyer whispering in your ear still? Yikes, I don’t want to know. I’ll talk to your wife instead. Madam…”

    Mrs Ligombao: “Aiiiiiiiii!” *faints*

    Senator: “Damn. Fine then. General Cimatu, I’ll ask you instead…”

    Cimastutter: “Ah….errr…um….Yes…you…how…cheese…Ummmmmm…chuchuchpickachu…Yes?”

    Senator drums fingers, clenches teeth and thinks to self: “I’m too old for this shit.”